Keynote Speaker


Nicolai Lehnert - Univeristy of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Nicolai Lehnert is a Professor of Chemistry and Biophysics at the Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan. He studied Chemistry at the Heinrich­-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany, and obtained his Diploma in Chemistry in 1995. He then moved to the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany, were he received his Ph.D. in 1999 working on model systems for nitrogenase under supervision of Priv.-Doz. Dr. F. Tuczek and Prof. Dr. P. Gütlich. He then joined the group of Prof. Dr. E. I. Solomon at Stanford University, USA for postdoctoral research from 1999 to 2001. In November 2001, he started as a Habilitand (senior research assistant, includes the conduction of independent research) at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany. After completion of his Habilitation (qualification for permanent faculty positions at German Universities) in 2006 he accepted a faculty position at the University of Michigan, where he started in September 2006 as an Assistant Professor. He received a number of awards, including a JSPS Invitation Fellowship (2008), an NSF CAREER Award (2009), the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2011), an Individual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education (2014) and the prestigious John Dewey Teaching Award (2016) from the University of Michigan. From 2007 – 2011 he was the Dow-Corning Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In 2012 he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and in 2016 to the rank of Professor. His work is focused on the coordination chemistry of nitric oxide and its derivatives as it pertains to biological systems, especially NO sensing and detoxification. More recently he has also developed research programs in biocatalysis (artificial metalloenzymes) and electrocatalysis, the latter being focused on immobilization of molecular catalysts on electrode surfaces to drive energy-related reactions (especially proton reduction). A particular expertise of his group is the application of physical and theoretical methods to coordination compounds and corresponding catalysts.



Workshop Organizers


Kyle Grice - DePaul University

Kyle Grice is an assistant professor of inorganic chemistry at DePaul University in Chicago, IL, where he has been since 2013. Kyle teaches general chemistry, instrumental analysis, inorganic chemistry, special topics in inorganic chemistry, and study abroad research in Spain. His research focuses on transition catalysts for CO2 reduction and C-H activation as well as metals in biology. Kyle has been a member of VIPEr for almost 8 years and is active on the forums as well as in generating LO’s for VIPEr. He also helps with site administration and twitter visibility.


Sheila Smith - University of Michigan - Dearborn

Sheila joined the Leadership Council of IONiC in 2010.  Her educational journey has taken her from NC State (BS) to UNC (PhD) to Amherst College (post-doc) and Michigan State (post-doc) before landing at the University of Michigan- Dearborn where she is currently an associate professor.  Her research focuses on the characterization of metal interactions (specifically iron and copper) with proteins and has included over 50 undergraduate researchers/ co-authors. In addition to rotations through all of the 300- and 400- level required inorganic courses in the ACS approved curriculum at UM- Dearborn, Sheila is also a lead instructor in second semester General Chemistry and teaches Biochemistry including a cross-listed  (BCHM/CHEM) course in the chemistry of metals in biological systems.  In her spare time (whatever that is), she camps, hikes,  and kayaks with her 14 y.o. American Foxhound, Bean.